Meatier Meatloaf

Traditional meatloaf can be loaded with extra calories, carbohydrates, and sugar to overcompensate for lean and dry meat. This recipe from Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief and chef Dan Souza uses mushrooms and gelatin to achieve a meaty and moist texture in lieu of a milk and bread panade. It also features tomato paste instead of an entire bottle of ketchup, so you can make a no-fail meatloaf that's full of flavor.

Watch The Video

2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped fine
6 oz white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp plus 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp unflavored gelatin
1/2 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 lb ground pork
1 lb 85 percent lean ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp ground coriander

1. For the meatloaf: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Fold heavy-duty aluminum foil to form 9 by 5-inch rectangle. Center foil on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Poke holes in foil with skewer (about 1/2 inch apart). Spray foil with vegetable oil spray.


2. Melt butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until browned, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low; add 3 tablespoons broth and garlic; cook, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, until thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer mushroom mixture to large bowl to cool.


3. Whisk eggs, remaining ½ cup broth, and soy sauce together in bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over egg mixture and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.


4. Pulse bread in food processor until finely ground, 5 to 10 pulses. Add gelatin mixture, cooled mushroom mixture, parsley, mustard, pepper, and thyme to breadcrumbs and pulse until mushrooms are finely ground, about 10 pulses, scraping down bowl as needed. Transfer bread-crumb mixture to large bowl. Add pork and beef and mix with hands to thoroughly combine.


5. Transfer meat mixture to foil rectangle and shape into 9 by 5-inch loaf using wet hands. Bake meatloaf until it registers 155 to 160 degrees, 75 to 90 minutes. Remove from oven and turn on broiler.


6. For the glaze: While meatloaf cooks, bring all ingredients to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.


7. Spread half of glaze evenly over cooked meatloaf; place under broiler and cook until glaze bubbles and begins to brown at edges, about 2 minutes. Remove meatloaf from oven and spread evenly with remaining glaze; return to broiler and cook until glaze is again bubbling and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes longer. Let meatloaf cool for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.